Chat about College Hockey
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INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (2:00 PM)
Welcome to this week's college hockey chat with Inside College Hockey editors and writers. We'll be taking your questions for the next 30 minutes.
Nick (Amherst, MA)
What do you think about UMass this year? and who would your choices be for POY, COY, and ROY if the season ended today in Hockey East?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:04 PM)
I thought UMass would take a step back from last year's campaign, which was the best in the program's history and so far they've proven me wrong. Losing Jon Quick (who got his first win in the NHL earlier this week) and a strong senior class hasn't really slowed down the Minutemen. Beating UNH soundly at home was a great way to end the first semester. They'll get two more very strong non-league games at the tournament in Tampa at the end of the month.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:05 PM)
As far as the Hockey East awards, I'd go with Boston College's Nate Gerbe for Player of the Year; UNH freshman James van Riemsdyk for Rookie of the Year; and Northeastern's Greg Cronin for Coach of the Year.
Justin H (Denver, CO)
How big was DU's comeback on Saturday? Will it carry over this weekend? this month?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:08 PM)
We've been waiting for a clear favorite to emerge in the WCHA and Denver and Colorado College have shown signs of being those teams. The wins on the road at St. Cloud State, and especially Saturday's amazing comeback give the Pioneers plenty of momentum in the short run. More importantly, it gives them confidence for later in the season if they trail late in a big game. It's important for DU to play well on the road in Anchorage this weekend. A three or four-point weekend will make a real impact in the standings.
Baldwin (The Heights)
Is it true that Nate Gerbe is the greatest? Hobey?
Mike Eidelbes (2:09 PM)
He's a pretty special player. You could argue that no team in the country had more to overcome during the first half of the season, still Boston College is in pretty good shape largely due to Gerbe's play. If the Eagles can reel off a few wins and Gerbe keeps averaging four points a game (as he's done over BC's last three outings) he'll be in the mix.
What's going on with the CHA lately? Any plans to add teams? Any chances Niagara will be able to secure a home in a more suitable conference?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:11 PM)
We're still waiting on further developments and news regarding College Hockey America. A few current members of Atlantic Hockey were allegedly interested in moving to the CHA, but wanted a guarantee that they would be allowed back into Atlantic Hockey if the CHA were not able to sustain in the future.
What's been the best surprise as far as teams go this season? What about disappointing teams?
Mike Eidelbes (2:13 PM)
There have been a number of surprises -- Bowling Green, UMass Lowell, St. Cloud State -- but I'll start at the top and say that Michigan is the biggest surprise. Most people thought the Wolverines were a top-10 team, but no one expected them to be 16-2 at the break, especially with 10 freshmen playing key roles in the lineup. For biggest disappointment, it's hard to look past Boston University and Maine. We thought they'd be down this year, but they've ranged anywhere from average to terrible thus far.
Do you think Rico Blasi is getting enough credit for building the Miami program into a national contender (at least over the past five years), particularly in an area that is well outside the traditional hockey hotbeds (Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New England, Colorado)?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:15 PM)
I think he and his staff are getting plenty of credit and it's evident by the run of weeks they spent atop national polls this season. The next step for the RedHawks is to make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. If they can get to a Frozen Four, that will raise their profile nationally in terms of being thought of as a true powerhouse.
Mike Eidelbes (2:16 PM)
Blasi did win the Spencer Penrose Award for national coach of the year in 2006, so he's certainly received some credit. But, no, I don't think he receives enough credit for the job he's done at Miami. The talent he's brought to Oxford is on par with any team in the nation, and the RedHawks are arguably the deepest team in the nation. I'd argue they're the only team in the country without a glaring weakness. In order for Blasi to get his full due, however, he probably has to take Miami to the Frozen Four.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:17 PM)
Also ... there's not a lot on the college hockey schedule this week, but Miami's Saturday-Sunday series at Rensselaer is a good one. Keep an eye on it.
Luke (Hamden CT)
Quinnipiac got some love this week, moving to 17 on the INCH power rankings. No love, however from the other polls nationally. Do you see them hitting a hot streak starting in the Catamount Cup in a couple of weeks?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:20 PM)
I've expected big things from Quinnipiac all year, and they had to figure things out early in the year. Fortunately for the Bobcats, most of their big wins have come in the league which will help playoff seeding. Their talent level is among the best in the league, and they could be considered a prohibitive favorite at the Vermont tournament. Getting a pair of wins there will help them gain momentum heading into a home weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth in the first weekend of January.
LD (Edison, NJ)
Which four ECAC teams will be dancing in Albany for their frozen four if you had to chose right now?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:21 PM)
My picks for those four teams will be ... Clarkson for sure. And then I'll take Rensselaer, Quinnipiac, and Harvard.
Justin H (Denver, CO)
What do you think the chances that the Frozen four will get to see both CC and DU, at the Pepsi Center? That would be a great way to battle it out in the end! home-home Frozen Four!
Mike Eidelbes (2:24 PM)
CC and DU in the Frozen Four? Possible, but not probable. The Tigers are atop the WCHA and third in the voter-driven polls, but I still question how good they really are -- the freshman goalie Richard Bachman has been good, and so has F Chad Rau, but I question their scoring depth and whether Bachman will tire as the year wears on. Those same two reasons are why I like Denver's Frozen Four chances better.
Comments on the ECAC at this point of the season?
Joe Gladziszewski (2:27 PM)
I'll have a more comprehensive report posted later tonight at INCH in the midseason review notebook, but to me the big stories are the steps taken by the Ivies early in the year (especially Harvard, Yale, and Princeton) and the slower starts for St. Lawrence and Colgate. The bulk of the league schedule takes place after Jan. 1 with most teams still left to play 14-15 ECAC Hockey games in a 22-game league schedule. We'll find out more after the New Year.
HP Ford (Detroit, Michigan)
Which of the top four teams in the CCHA is most vulnerable to slipping a bit in the second half?
Mike Eidelbes (2:29 PM)
My first inclination is to say Michigan because of all those freshmen, but I'm gonna go with Michigan State just because the Spartans have been so maddeningly inconsistent -- not from game to game, but from shift to shift. It doesn't look like it based on MSU's record, but they haven't beaten a ranked opponent this season (the Spartans are 0-3-2 against ranked teams.)
Joe Gladziszewski (2:30 PM)
Thanks for the questions and stopping by to talk college hockey. We'll have midseason review notebooks posted this week and next at InsideCollegeHockey.com